LOCALS IN THE NFL
Washington QB Alex Smith Wins NFL Comeback Player of the Year Award
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Former Utah Utes and current Washington Football Team quarterback Alex Smith won the NFL Comeback Player of the Year Award for the 2020 season.
Smith was honored at the 10th Annual NFL Honors on Saturday, February 6.
The quarterback was previously honored as Comeback Player of the Year by Sporting News and the Professional Football Writers of America.
.@washingtonNFL QB Alex Smith is the 2020 Comeback Player of the Year! (by @Visa) #NFLHonors pic.twitter.com/FdGmzQzAHM
— NFL (@NFL) February 7, 2021
Alex Smith’s 2018 Injury
The former Utah signal-caller suffered a broken fibula and tibia during Washington’s game against the Houston Texans on November 18, 2018.
Doctors determined immediate surgery was required.
Days after the initial surgery, Smith developed a fever and his leg became infected with flesh-eating bacteria.
That moment Alex Smith held a football for the first time after his life changing injury.
A look at @e60’s #Project11 pic.twitter.com/aqm8QuWeYr
— Washington Football Team (@WashingtonNFL) April 29, 2020
Smith’s injury was so severe that it was considered a sports-related injury.
In total, the QB experienced 17 surgeries.
The injury forced him to miss the rest of the 2018 season and all of the 2019 season.
“It's bigger than football… It's not about the game. It's about… getting back on your feet and dusting yourself off, no matter what the obstacle is,” says Alex Smith’s wife about the QB playing again after almost losing his life and his leg. https://t.co/zwef2EsILA pic.twitter.com/xQE279Aw9J
— 60 Minutes (@60Minutes) January 18, 2021
Alex Smith’s 2020 Comeback
Prior to the start of the 2020 season, Smith was cleared by doctors and earned a spot on Washington’s 53-man roster.
Midway through the season, he became Washington’s starting quarterback once again.
He helped led Washington to the NFL Playoffs and posted a 5-1 record in the games he started.
Alex Smith. 2020 Comeback Player of the Year. 🙏🙏 #NFLHonors @WashingtonNFL pic.twitter.com/cKZHm0CYxJ
— NFL (@NFL) February 7, 2021
The former Utah great was unable to play in Washington’s Wild Card loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers after he suffered an injury late in the regular season.
While the team listed the ailment as a calf injury, 60 Minutes’ Norah O’Donnell reported that Smith’s injury was a bone bruise.
Alex Smith’s NFL Career
Smith has played in the NFL since 2005.
He was drafted out of Utah by the San Francisco 49ers with the first overall pick in the 2005 NFL Draft.
During his career, Smith has played for the 49ers, Chiefs, and Washington.
Through 174 career games, Smith has completed 62.6 percent of his throws for 35,650 yards, 199 touchdowns, and 109 interceptions.
Other Award Winners
In addition to the Comeback Player of the Year honor, the following awards and players were recognized during the NFL Honors:
- Most Valuable Player – Aaron Rodgers (Packers)
- Comeback Player of the Year – Alex Smith (Washington)
- Defensive Player of the Year – Aaron Donald (Rams)
- Defensive Rookie of the Year – Chase Young (Washington)
- Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year – Russell Wilson (Seahawks)
- Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2021 – Tom Flores (Raiders), Charles Woodson (Raiders/Packers), Calvin Johnson (Lions), Drew Pearson (Cowboys), Alan Faneca (Steelers/Jets/Cardinals), Bill Nunn (Steelers), John Lynch (Broncos/Buccaneers), Peyton Manning (Colts/Broncos)
- Assistant Coach of the Year – Brian Daboll (Bills)
- Coach of the Year – Kevin Stefanski (Browns)
- Offensive Player of the Year – Derrick Henry (Titans)
- Offensive Rookie of the Year – Justin Herbert (Chargers)
Kyle Ireland is a Locals in the NFL Insider for KSLSports.com and host of the Yards After College Podcast. Follow him on Twitter (@kyleireland) and Instagram (@kyleirelandksl).
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